Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a process enabling the development of skills in ministry in a clinical setting through interaction with patients, staff, peers and a supervisor. CPE focuses on pastoral reflection, pastoral formation and pastoral competence. CPE provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect and learn from their experiences in ministry, assess and develop in their identity as spiritual caregivers, and gain pastoral care skills that can be adapted to various arenas in life. Individualized learning contracts further shape the curriculum to the needs of the students.

CPE is offered in Level I and II. Level I CPE introduces students to the experiential learning process, basic pastoral skills and the pastoral role. Level II expects students to use the CPE process to gain specialized competencies, to learn to access multiple needs within a situation and determine their role in meeting them, and to develop leadership within the staff and organization they serve.

The outcomes for each level must be completed before moving to the next level. CPE is offered in fulltime "intensive" units (10-12 weeks) or part-time "extended" units (covering several months). Both intensive and extended units involve a minimum of 300 hours of clinical ministry and 100 hours of group and individualized instruction. Students engaged in single units of CPE are considered "interns". Those who have completed one unit may enroll in a yearlong program (3-4 consecutive units) functioning as a "resident." Residency programs include a stipend. The center of your choice can explain the options available at their location.

CPE is open to persons in professional ministry, training to become pastors or chaplains and gifted laypersons seeking to enhance caring skills, ministerial discernment and call for ministry.

What others say about their CPE experience

"This was one of the most profound learning experiences I have ever had the opportunity to participate in. I learned so much about grace, mercy and compassion during my time together with (the supervisor), the group and the patients."

– D.K., Seminary Student

"I thought this was just another one of those requirements' I had to take, but found out that it was one of the most stimulating, challenging, educational and personal growth experiences I had ever encountered."

– C.J., Hospital Spiritual Care Coordinator

"The CPE model combining class room with clinical experience is a perfect marriage. The experience and knowledge gained in CPE played a crucial role on being hired as a workplace chaplain."

– T.P., Chaplain



Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center and Aurora Sinai Medical Center Clinical Pastoral Education Centers are accredited by the:

Association of Clinical Pastoral Education
1549 Clairmont Road, Suite 103
Decatur, GA 30033-4611
(404) 320-1472